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First daughters get H1N1 shots as supplies increase

By Miriam Falco, CNN
Malia, left, and Sasha Obama received seasonal and H1N1 flu shots last week, the White House says.
Malia, left, and Sasha Obama received seasonal and H1N1 flu shots last week, the White House says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Since Friday, 6 million doses of H1N1 flu shots, nasal spray released
  • Sasha and Malia Obama among Washington schoolchildren to get vaccine
  • CDC: H1N1 flu widespread across the U.S., but some areas seeing decrease
RELATED TOPICS
  • Swine Flu
  • Sasha Obama
  • Malia Obama

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- The first daughters have gotten it along with other children, and more residents around the nation may soon be able to get the H1N1 flu vaccine as health officials say more is on its way.

According to a statement posted on the White House Web site by Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld, press secretary for first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia received their H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines last week. The president's daughters received the vaccine "after the vaccine became available to Washington, D.C., schoolchildren," according to the statement.

Since Friday, about 6 million more doses of H1N1 flu shots and nasal spray have been released.

"We have 22.4 million doses available for shipment out directly to providers and we're getting to the level where it will become significantly easier to find and receive vaccine." Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday during a press conference.

Frieden told reporters, "We wish it had been available weeks or even months earlier but we're beginning to get to a significant increase in the availability."

The CDC had hoped that about 40 million doses of H1N1 -- also know as swine flu -- vaccine would be available by the end of October. On October 16, CDC officials announced that only 28 million to 30 million doses would be available this month, because of manufacturing delays.

Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, expressed "strong concerns" about the distribution of the H1N1 vaccine in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Frieden also told reporters that while the H1N1 flu is still widespread across the country, some areas are seeing flu activity start to decrease.

But he said the decrease is patchy, even within some states. He confirmed H1N1 is decreasing in Georgia, which was hit hard when schools reopened in August.

Michigan schools were recently affected, with 117 schools still closed in the state, down from more than 240 last week, according to James McCurtis of the Michigan Department of Community Health.

McCurtis said on the department's Web site that most schools are closed because of high absenteeism. He said parents are keeping children with flu-like symptoms at home, which is what health officials have been recommending.

CNN's Saundra Young contributed to this report.

 
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